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Unformatted text preview: First Lecture on Discoveries and Inventions Abraham Lincoln April 6, 1858 All creation is a mine, and every man, a miner. The whole earth, and all within it, upon it, and round about it, including himself , in his physical, moral, and intellectual nature, and his susceptibilities, are the infinitely various "leads" from which, man, from the first, was to dig out his destiny. In the beginning, the mine was unopened, and the miner stood naked , and knowledgeless , upon it. Fishes, birds, beasts, and creeping things, are not miners, but feeders and lodgers , merely. Beavers build houses; but they build them in nowise differently, or better now, than they did, five thousand years ago. Ants, and honey-bees, provide food for winter; but just in the same way they did, when Solomon referred the sluggard to them as patterns of prudence. 1- Man is not the only animal who labors; but he is the only one who improves his workmanship. This improvement, he effects by Discoveries , and Inventions . His first important discovery was the fact that he was naked; and his first invention was the fig- leaf-apron. This simple articlethe apronmade of leaves, seems to have been the origin of clothing the one thing for which nearly half of the toil and care of the human race has ever since been expended. The most important improvement ever made in connection with clothing, was the invention of spinning and weaving . The spinning jenny, and power-loom, invented in modern times, though great improvements , do not, as inventions , rank with the ancient arts of spinning and weaving. Spinning and weaving brought into the department of clothing such abundance and variety of material. Wool, the hair of several species of animals, hemp, flax, cotton, silk, and perhaps other articles, were all suited to it, affording garments not only adapted to wet and dry, heat and cold, but also susceptible of high degrees of ornamental finish. Exactly when , or where , spinning and weaving originated is not known. At the first interview of the Almighty with Adam and Eve, after the fall, He made "coats of skins, and clothed them" Gen: 3-21. The Bible makes no other allusion to clothing, before the flood. Soon after the deluge Noahs two sons covered him with a garment ; but of what material the garment was made is not mentioned. Gen. 9-23. Abraham mentions " thread " in such connection as to indicate that spinning and weaving were in use in his dayGen. 14.23 and soon after, reference to the art is frequently made. " Linen breeches , ["] are mentioned,Exod. 28.42and it is said "all the women that were wise hearted, did spin with their hands" (35-25) and, "all the women whose hearts stirred them up in wisdom, spun goats hair" (35-26). The work of the " weaver " is mentioned (35-35). In the book of Job, a very old book, date not exactly known, the " weavers shuttle " is mentioned....
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